When God speaks, that is a serious matter (Hebrews 3:7). People should give him their attention; and they should obey him. But when God makes an oath, that is even more serious. Godís oath gives comfort to people who trust him (Hebrews 6:13-18). But it should cause terror to people who refuse to obey him. His oath is his judgement against them; and God will not change his mind.
An oath means a very serious promise. A person makes an oath in order to emphasise that something is definite. By his oath, he shows that he will never change his mind about that matter. He will carry out his promise, even if he must use all his energy and all his wealth to do it. If the man is angry with other people, then the oath will make them very afraid.
God made such an oath against the people whom Moses led through the desert (Deuteronomy 1:34-35). God had done wonderful things for those people. He had rescued them from their lives as slaves in Egypt. He looked after them as they went through the desert. He showed constant love to them. He helped them whenever they had problems. But still they refused to trust him. They would not obey his command. They complained. They used their fears as an excuse.
God was angry with such attitudes. So he made his oath. None of the adults who left Egypt would enter Canaan, except Joshua and Caleb. Canaan was the country that God had promised to his people. But the people who had left Egypt would die in the desert. They would not know rest in the country that God had provided for them. Instead, their children would receive that land.
What happened to them is a lesson for all of us. We must continue to trust God. We must not allow doubts and fears to rule our lives. We must obey God constantly.
Next part: The sin of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.